Ingredients: 1 cup pearl barley 2 cups water, vegetable broth, or a combination (I used 1 of each) 1 cucumber 2 peaches 1 pint cherry tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes) 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves 2 Tablespoons vinegar (cider or red wine) 1 Tablespoon olive oil salt and pepper 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Place dry barley in a saucepan over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring, until toasted. Stir in water/broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 35 minutes. Allow to cool. Chop cucumber, peaches, tomatoes and basil. In a large bowl, mix oil, vinegar and salt and pepper. Add in barley and chickpeas, mix in vegetables. Serve over lettuce.
So much to do ... busy busy ... since moving to the beautiful farm. We have moved, arranged, rearranged, cleaned, organized, plowed, planted, watered, thinned, weeded ... and so much more.
This beautiful place has brought such blessings ... it seemed fitting to begin our lists again ... anew.
#1 This beautiful farm, our family's long-awaited "forever" home. #2 Cherub 3's efforts, long and labor-intensive, fencing and preparing ... #3 Our family's a mighty army when we all work together. #4 Dry sunshine-filled moving days. #5 Snapper mowers ... which mows grass, pastures, and blazes trails. #6 A beautiful library, only 12 minutes away, with shelves seemingly to the sky. #7 Sweet neighbors. #8 AT&T finally installing our DSL service. #9 DadToCherubs being able to work from home once again. #10 Boat rides on beautiful afternoons. #11 Our cozy cabin, in which we're starting to feel settled. #12 Wildflowers in the pastures. #13 Brushlines filled with bits of bright red promise .... blackberries not-quite-ripe. #14 Spring peepers and bullfrogs -- our nighttime lullaby. #15 Tilled soil ... planted seeds ... and high hopes of a bountiful harvest. #16 Brain storming and barn planning ... and lots of quality time with our equines. #17 A rescued nestling ... a Northern Mockingbird ... growing and thriving ... beginning to fly ... #18 Winding trails in the woods and grand adventures unfolding at every bend. #19 Bedtime reading while all is quiet. #20 Beginning the summer session of our school year ... with one who will be a Senior when we're through. #21 Arrangements made for summer visitors - oh the fun we'll have !! #22 Summer swim team's beginning. #23 "Routines" beginning to peek through our chaos ... #24 Cool evening breezes. #25 Discussions ... the making of farm and future plans with the Cherubs.
We're busy planting here at Two By Two Farm. We decided on two gardens for vegetables, the first of which was planted late last week, and the second of which will be planted today/tomorrow.
So, what are we growing this year ?
Lettuce (Buttercrunch and Blackseeded Simpson)
Spinach (Bloomsdale Long Standing)
Tomatoes (Marglobe, Cherry, Roma, Krim)
Peppers (yellow purple and red bell peppers, and 1 jalapeno)
Squash (yellow, zucchini, spaghetti, scallop, butternut, and acorn)
Corn (silver queen)
GreenBeans (bush variety)
Herbs - lavender, parsley, basil, oregano, chives
Watermelons (icebox size and Dixie Queen)
And pumpkins -- the small "pie" type, and some mammoth pumpkin seeds that promise a 200-300 pound pumpkin.
We have seen sooooo many rabbits here that we're concerned we'll be battling them for our harvests. So any recommendations on keeping the rabbits from devouring our gardens would be appreciated (we've already decided that next year we will fence the gardens for sure).
It's very exciting here !! We finally finished moving, lock, stock, and barrel, to the new place. And for the most part, we've unpacked ... in between sunshine days we've spent outside and back to back activities (Scouts, Horse Trail Clinic, boxing, horseback riding here, horseback riding at the arena, volunteer opportunities, etc).
We still have some things (piles) to put away ... but overall we're settled ... and on rainy days, we work inside putting things away and getting organized ... and on sunny days we are outside.
The tornadoes last Wednesday in our area (actually, over much of the South) were horrible. Thankfully we only had a few limbs down, despite watching funnel clouds walk the hilltop beside us, eventually touching down in the next town. YIKES !! We are praising God for His protection !!
And this past weekend we were out enjoying the sunshine. Soaking it up !!
On Saturday Dumma was here, so we went to the Mennonite farm to get strawberries and to check out the animals for sale (4th Saturday of the month is their animal sale) --- we didn't buy any animals, but it took every bit of willpower we had. HA !! Strawberries and peanutbutter cookies .... yummy. Saturday was DadToCherub's 39th birthday, so in the afternoon we took the boat out for it's maiden voyage of the summer. The water was cold, but DadToCherubs and our 6 Cherubs went swimming anyway. And the lake was gorgeous !! Then we had a nice Birthday dinner at the Marina's restaurant. It was also Cinnamon's birthday - she's 27yo now. We visited with her, gave some much needed tummy rubs, and hugged her dearly -- and she had some horse treats instead of cake. :o)
Sunday afternoon was spent in the yard. First, we hung DadToCherubs' hammock with hammock straps from two huge oak trees -- and he test drove it a bit. Perfect !! Then DadToCherubs, Cherub 6, and Cherub 5 gathered and burned some piles of sticks and limbs that were scattered about. There's a lot more to burn here, but those piles were a great start !! Cherub 1, Cherub 2, Cherub 3, and Cherub 4 worked on finding the yard -- taming the yard really. Weeding, mowing, trimming ... planting 5 huge Lavender plants that Dumma brought to us ... it' starting to look really nice.
Today M.C. is coming back with his tractor -- to till our garden spots -- WOOOO HOOOO !! He came last week to plow (ours are never-been-gardened-before spots) ... after much discussion and debate, we decided on TWO gardens this year. One near the pasture for corn, green beans, melons, and squashes ... and one closer to the house for tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, spinach, herbs, eggplant, and a few other things. Very exciting -- in two weeks, we'll be planting our very first TWO BY TWO garden. :o) I fear we're going to have to fight the rabbits this year for our harvest ... I see sooooo many rabbits here. But by next year, the spots will be fenced if the rabbis are an issue ... or at least that's the plan. (There's simply not enough time to get it fenced this year, if we want to actually plant this year - ha !)
Once the yard is tamed and the pastures mowed again (wow the pastures grew up FAST !), we're going to start working on building a chicken house ... and then will be buying new chickens ... and some guineas to deal with the HUGE number of ticks and creepy-crawlies that live here. Then we'll be working on thinning the treelines/brushlines between the house and the pastures ... and starting on fencing pasture #2 ... for cows ... for beef (and we're looking into maybe getting a family milk cow, but the decision is still out on that one until the research is done). And somewhere in that will be working on a run-in shelter for the horses ... and then .... well, the list goes on and on and on and on and on ........
We're loving the new farm, when we get to BE here. We've done a lot of running back and forth between the old place and the new place ....
All of our belongings have been moved ... and at the old house, the painting is finished and now we're cleaning and making small repairs. With God's grace and a lot of hard work, we should be ready to give the keys to A & N this evening.
At the new house, phase 1 of the driveway repair was completed and fared pretty well in the storms. And the electrician came to install the stove outlet (yeah !! our menu won't be limited to the grill anymore !).
Starting tomorrow, we'll be starting the process of unpacking and getting organized.
Well, it's been raining for f-o-r-e-v-e-r .... or so it seems. Not sure that buying a farm was the wise choice ... maybe we should've built an ARK instead ? Ha !!
Cinnamon, our senior horse, was sick earlier in the week with a nasty cold. Thanks to our wonderful vet and a snug coat, she's feeling MUCH better now. HOORAY !!
It's been a longgggg Dogwood Winter(usually just a few days in duration, and the first of our last 2 cold-snaps before spring comes to stay), the weather is finallyyyyyy making a change. HOORAY !! It seems we're going to have a warm and sunny weekend ... and then a few sunny warm (DRY) days next week too.
Next is the Blackberry Winter, within 2 weeks usually --- and it's usually only a few days in duration, so hopefully that'll hold true this year.
In between, hopefully (maybe), we can finally get this "show" going ....
We got the lower level of the outbuilding closed in and made some doors. And then some of the Cherubs and I removed all of the old barbed wire fencing, repaired the field fencing that weaves through the treelines, and have managed to get new fence put up on 3 sides of the pasture. It was quite a feat ... in the cold and mud and rain. Hummmmmmmmmmm ......
Today, we hope to finish fencing the last "short" side of the pasture, to get 2 gates installed (one 12ft date as the "official" pasture entrance, and one 4ft gate closer to the house for a people entrance), and to get a bit of trimming (low branches) done and cleared away in the treelines. Then, the pasture will be ready for it's new residents .... we're moving the horses to Two By Two farm next Wednesday if the weather stays nice.
Then, this weekend, while we're waiting to move the horses, we're planning to move LOTS of belongings to the new house (we hope to sleep there for the first time on Wednesday night) ... and in between picking up the horse trailer Saturday afternoon and bathing the horses on Sunday evening we'll be MOVING (three Cherubs and our 3 horses are attending a 2-day trail clinic here on Mon and Tues so our equines need to be clean and lovely) ....
With God's Grace, strong backs, and a few nice days, we can hopefully finallyyyyyyyyyyy make good progress moving ... and then will finish up moving the last of the non-essentials next week (Wed, Thurs, and Fri).
It's finally starting to come together .... if it can just stay dry for a few days. :o)
The closing was finally held last Friday. Yahooo !!
And this week, in between children's haircuts, horse haircuts, and a farrier visit, plus lots of childrens activities, we've been busy.
We've gotten the yard cleaned up a little at Two By Two Farm, and spent much of the week enclosing the lower level of an outbuilding.
We're still waiting for the water and electric lines to be marked so that the excavator can come do some work on the driveway.
Tomorrow we will begin removing the barbed wire from the pasture fences (uggggg), and then will be replacing it with barbless wire. And we'll be mowing the pasture, which is starting to get nice and green. Our horses will be pleased with their new pasture.
Once the fencing is completed, we'll begin the actual process of moving to the new farm ... just in time to enjoy the spring !!
We said, "If all goes according to plan, and the weather cooperates, and the TO DOs get "done" .... in 6 weeks we could be moved, lock, stock, and barrel, onto Two By Two Farm" ... or at least that WAS the plan.
So -- what's left to do ?
What did we get done ?
Two weeks ago, we made great plans to immediately begin very-serious de-cluttering and downsizing, realizing that it's simply silly to move all of this "stuff" that we never use and simply don't need, to the new place, only to clutter up another space.
We had planned on starting in the barn (where much is stored, and precious little is ever used), and then coming into the house to "downsize" room by room.
However, the flu had other plans for us. Headaches, chills, fevers, coughs, head congestion, nausea, and intense fatigue .... it was rough.
So, after nearly 2 solid weeks of family-wide illness, and while we are still struggling with coughs, we are "better", and so will begin again our efforts.
TODAY ... after lunchtime.
IN THE BARN ...
... this afternoon .... armed with the trashbags, boxes, and the van with trailer nearby .... out with the old and unused .... out with the "saved" things that we haven't touched or even thought of for more than a year .... out with the unnecessary ... organized inventory of the essentials ... and packed for the move ...
Then we'll head to the dump, the recycling collection area, and the donation centers.
With God's Grace, we'll finish decluttering the barn by this time next week(we hope) ...
... and then will begin our efforts inside the house ... downsizing, decluttering, and hopefully packing too.
It seems hard to believe that in 4 weeks, with God's Grace, we could be all moved .... and could be living on Two By Two Farm.
Lord, we thank You for Your protection while we were ill, and for your healing. And we thank you for the excitement ... the THRILL ... the beauty that is to come ... all of the promise that a new farm can possibly hold. Please Lord, help us as we prepare, guide us in our steps, as we finally begin to pare down unnecessary belongings, and assist us as we prepare to move to the new farm. Keep us healthy, and protect the JOY in our hearts as we embark on this huge project ... bind us together as a team, because many hands make light work ... we humbly ask that You bless and multiply our efforts, and that you strengthen our bodies and spirits ... that, as we de-clutter our physical spaces, You de-clutter our hearts and minds. We as these things in Your Holy Name. Amen.
The inspections are done and went even better than we'd hoped. And now all of the "details" are in the works ... and the closing should be on or before March 11th.
In the mean while we're cleaning out and de-cluttering, and will begin packing this week. Since we have 10 days of warm sunshine ahead, we're going to focus our attention on the barn this week. We have so many things "in storage" in the barn that we just simply don't need ... so why move them, right ?
Then we'll move to the house .... we're going to go through every room ... every since box, bag, drawer, shelf, and corner .... every closet .... weeding out and consolidating .... it just seems silly to move allllllll of this stuff that just takes up space and collects dust.
Maybe I am becoming a MINIMALIST in my 40th year ? HA !
And school ... we're going to buckle down A LOT and try to make some serious progress on our school work. We had hoped to start buckling down last week, but the FLU had other ideas. So --- Monday --- we will begin working hard again on our school work in hopes of getting a lot accomplished before we move.
Our spring vet appointment will be finished before the move ... all of the critters will get their annual immunizations and well-checks.
The boat will be moved to the marina within the next 2 weeks. The jetkis will go to the mechanic for good pre-season tune ups.
It's all in the details now .... and so much is dependent on warm sunshine-filled days.
Let's hope March comes in "like a lamb", and goes out like one too !!